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'Project Runway': Surf wear chic

It's Week 3 of "Project Runway," and I still don't know whom most of the designers are, nor have I seen a single dress that I just have to have. I hope this season heats up ... and maybe it will with this beach-themed episode, in which the designers work in teams (drama!) and, in the words of Tim Gunn, must create a "fun and fashionable surf wear look." All I know is Rachel Bilson is one of two guest judges. I adore her, and she actually knows a lot about fashion. Summer Roberts!

The show starts off with Ra'mon saying he doesn't want to get sent home. Well, obviously. Mitchell, who needs to be sent home stat, is concerned and frustrated that he has been in bottom two for the past two challenges (that's what happens when you send a model down the runway in an almost see-through nightgown). Shirin has immunity, so she's sitting pretty.

Since there's no more clips of the model-selection process (it's done on the semi-entertaining "Models of the Runway," which is on after "PR"), host Heidi Klum gathers the designers to say that no visit to California is complete without a field trip to this destination. "Don't forget your sunscreen!" she says. No mystery there; the designers know they are hitting the beach.

Spotted: Tim Gunn in sandals, sunglasses and a  ... blazer. He's accompanied by Philip the Garnier celebrity stylist. Tim explains the challenge, and also says their models must wow with perfect hairstyle. Philip will apparently create a gorgeous just-off-the-beach style (cough, big advertisement for Garnier, cough). The designers must work in teams of two. Tim picks the team leaders, then the team leaders must pick their partners.

Shirin picks Carol Hannah, Logan picks Christopher, Nicolas picks Gordana, Mitchell picks Ram'on ("I wanted to work with someone who could carry me," Mitchell says. For real.), Althea picks Louise, Qristyl picks Epperson, Johnny picks Irina. The designers get 20 minutes to caucus on the beach and determine which of the two models they'll use. They then have only 15 minutes to get fabric. Epperson and Qristyl are disagreeing, as are some other pairs.

In the work room, there's lots of talk coming from Nicolas about "hombre of macrame." Did I hear that right? My guess is no. Ra'mon is complaining that Mitchell isn't pulling his weight.  Tim then gives the designers a message from Heidi  and the judges -- they are raising the stakes, and each team must create a second look. "Ladies and gentleman, capital WTF" says Ra'mon. Is it just me, or are we getting a lot of him this episode?

The second look will be an avant-garde design (exciting!) that corresponds to their surf-wear-inspired design. Both looks will walk the runway. They have the rest of the night to come up with design, which will have a budget of $200. One designer will go to Mood in the a.m. to pick out fabrics.

At the store, Epperson says his idea is inspired by wet suits. All kind of bad images come to my head right now. Macrame Nic says he's afraid his garmet is going to look like a trannie.

Once everyone's back in the workroom, Tim visits. "The prophet of doom has returned," he says. Model Erica apparently has an issue: She took commerical and won't be present for the fitting. Carol Hannah can have another model. She takes eliminated-last-week Valerie. I'm losing a bit of interest at this point (seriously, this season continues to be a snoozer!), but perk up when I hear Gordana say Nicolas is inspired by "a sea woman that's becoming a human like in the movie "Mermaid."

Time for hair. Garnier's Philip talks, well, hair, and all the designers gush "Yeah, cool, awesome ..." Ok, everyone! Go out and get your Garnier Fructis shampoo and conditioner RIGHT NOW. Shortly after, Tim walks around the room critiquing outfits. Here are two of my favorite quotes. In fact, I loved Tim's interactions here and was so busying typing that I missed whom they were directed at. Forgive me:

"I think we're going to see panties, and all that sophistication went away for me."

"I feel like I'm in a cartoon with a superhero and a Greek goddess."

I'm fairly certain that last one was directed at the wetsuit outfit, so Ra'mon scraps it entirely. This means he needs to create something else, and fast, while Mitchell just basically does nothing. Ra'mon complains that working on two garments at once in unfair and that he's trying to keep Mitchell as focused as possible. There's some doubt whether they'll have an outfit to walk down the runway, but in typical "Project Runway" fashion (unintentional pun there), no one walks down the catwalk sans clothes.

We meet our guest judges, Max Azria of BCBGMaxAzria (hello, Max, I just dropped way too much money at your store the other day for some amazing dresses) and the aforementioned Rachel Bilson, formerly of The O.C. I'm more excited about the judges than the dresses. Sigh.

We see the looks, and again, besides a dress by R'amon and Mitchell, I'm completely underwhelmed. Althea, Louise, Logan, Christopher, Shirin and Carol Hannah are safe and leave the runway. I really loved Althea's avant-garde dress and Louise's surf-inspired dress.

Johnny and Irina are in the top two. Judge Nina Garcia loves the back of their beachy look. Rachel also likes the macrame (gosh, that was popular this episode!); it's her favorite outfit, she says, and she would wear it. Max concurs. Ra'mon and Mitchell (yes, they are actually in the top two) have two great dresses. Everyone especially likes the green avant-garde dress; it plays with volume, has an interesting shape, and looks like it has a print. Mitchell, however, admits that Ra'mon did all the work.

Nicolas and Gordana and Epperson and Qristyl have the lowest scores. Qristyl says Epperson took the lead, even though she was the team leader. Epperson rolls his eyes, and then they argue about whether their concept was good enough. Qristyl says that whatever she did wasn't good enough for her partner. The judges mostly like the surf piece, but hate the avant-garde one (it is awful!). Max smartly adds that if you aren't a team player, you can't be a designer.

The judges love the top on Nic and Gordana's looks, but hate the bottoms. Nina says they went for too sexy. Rachel says at least it's fashion forward. Nina replies that they didn't have to include the garters.

When it comes to debating who stays and goes, Heidi says, "On 'Project Runway,' you actually have to design. create and sew." She's unsure how to judge if someone (ahem, Mitchell) hasn't done anything.

And with that, we get a "Project Runway" first. Ra'mon is the winner -- "Is there a recount that needs to happen?" he asks -- and his partner, Mitchell, is going home. "Three strikes, and you're out," Heidi says.

Won't miss ya, Mitchell.

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